Chicago nears average of 1,000 COVID cases a day amid holiday surge


CHICAGO – COVID-19 cases are again on the rise in Chicago, with at least one area of the city showing a case positivity rate over 9%.

On average, Chicago sees 948 coronavirus cases daily.

“We are back to that very high transmission mark,” said Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. “You can see that’s up 79% from the prior week.”

Health officials attribute the spike, at least in part, to Thanksgiving. 

“We had decreased testing and decreased case detection, so fewer cases reported,” Arwady said.

Holding a question and answer seminar on Facebook, Chicago’s top doctor said the number of people getting vaccinated is improving – but so too is the positivity rate, which creates a concern.

“If this were everyone testing, your positivity rate would drop because we look at those two together, so we continue to be in this winter surge,” Arwady said.

Doctors say there is reason to remain optimistic, however. Even though cases have gone up, it’s understood hospital admissions and ICU capacities have not mirrored last year’s numbers.

“Last year, prior to the vaccine, when cases went to red, we’d see hospital admission going to red too,” Arwady said.

Statewide, health officials say case positivity is slightly higher at 4.3% and the delta variant is still the predominant cause.

As scientists race to find out more about omicron, earlier this week, Illinois became one of the 22 states thus far to detect a case of the new omicron variant. Health officials say the vaccinated Chicagoan contracted the virus following contact with an out-of-state visitor.

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